Posted by HR on February 28, 2001 at 19:31:13:
Thanks for the response. I like tailoring the option and financing based on the buyer’s total picture; I’m going to remember that.
With regard to Fair Housing law, I probably have it wrong, but I thought I remembered Jeffrey Taylor harping on the point that 1) all landlords have criteria for renting their units; 2) unwritten criteria can land one in trouble, since it’s more difficulty to prove objectivity; 3) if one does have written criteria, then the first applicant who passes the minimum threshold must be offered the apartment first.
Obviously, there are real world ways around this. I advertise the apartment, steer the callers to a voicemail, advertise an open house, and take aps at the open house. Taylor suggests using a number system for applicants received. I think that’s asking for trouble. I just date them all the same date; how do I know who was first, second, third, etc? That way, I can take the best from that batch and claim it was the first to pass the threshold.
Frankly, I am aware that Mr. Landlord is teaching the ideal, which isn’t always practical. I know that. I think taking reasonable steps to stave off an unnecessary lawsuit, though, is prudent. While I don’t suspect I will have many testers for my property, and while most of my applicants are minorities anyway (with section 8 vouchers, of late), this ain’t a real high concern on the priority list. Nonetheless, if I can take a few moments to quell even the perception of any bias, it’s worth it.
I just had never considered all this in the context of a lease option before. Frankly, I can’t even get to the point where I have all my criteria written up. Just food for thought.
Perhaps someone else will weigh in on this Fair Housing issue.
Thanks for the thoughts. See you in Atlanta.